The cover article of the January/February 2021 Journal of Environmental Health, "Disclosing Inspection Results at Point-of-Service: Affect of Characteristics of Food Establishment Inspection Programs on Foodborne Illness Outcomes," was authored by a partnership of researchers from the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, along with the Dining Safety Alliance and National Network of Public Health Institutes.
The study found that food establishment inspection agencies that disclosed restaurant inspection scores at the point-of-service reported fewer mean numbers of re-inspections by 15%, complaints by 38%, outbreaks by 55% (p = 0.03), and cases of Salmonella infections by 12% than did agencies that disclosed online only. Furthermore, agencies that used some type of grading method for inspection results reported fewer mean numbers of re-inspections by 37%, complaints by 22%, outbreaks by 61%, and cases of Salmonella infections by 25% than did agencies that did not grade inspection results.
The findings suggest that disclosure of inspection results could be an effective public policy that fosters transparency, population health, and informed consumer choice while eliminating a barrier to consumers using inspection data in the decision-making process and reducing instances of re-inspection of establishments.
NEHA is proud to have been involved in this study.